Bentonville Film Festival attracts stars, promotes diversity


Set for May 2 – 7, the 2017 Bentonville Film Festival will include an inspiring lineup of narrative and documentary film screenings, industry-focused panel discussions, musical performances, celebrity spotlight events and much more.

The annual family favorite, community event, “A League of Their Own” softball game will also return to celebrate that film’s 25th anniversary. BFF 2017 has also expanded its short film competitions and added a commercial competition as well.

BFF is the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners in the following categories: Best Family Film, Audience Award and Best Narrative Selected by Jury. Films can only qualify for the competition portion of the Festival by containing two or more of the following characteristics: female or diverse lead, female or diverse director, female or diverse writer, female or diverse production company, gender and diversity balanced cast, gender and diversity balanced crew.

Co-founded by Academy Award® winner Geena Davis & ARC Entertainment CEO Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Film Festival champions women and diverse voices in all forms of media. Founding sponsor Walmart and presenting sponsor Coca-Cola, and partners AMC Theatres, Lifetime and Starz, make this unique film festival a reality in Bentonville.


“We are so very proud of the progress we’ve made and the response we are getting in support of the mission of BFF.  Now moving into our third year, I feel more confident than ever that — with the support of our partners — we will create change in the media our children view so that it will reflect the world they actually live in, which is half female and very diverse,” stated Geena Davis in a press release.

BFF co-founder Trevor Drinkwater added, “One of the goals of BFF is to create an opportunity for films to secure commercial distribution. This year’s festival marked the second year in a row in which that goal was accomplished for a majority of the films in competition. In addition, several films locked in distribution agreements with major studios such as Sony Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn, The Orchard, and Broad Green.”

BFF experienced significant growth in its second year with a 70 percent increase in attendance, approximately 63,000 seats filled. Thirty-three competition filmmakers out of 34 competition films attended, as well as notable guests Meg Ryan, Soledad O’Brien, Nia Vardalos, Kathy Najimy, Bruce Dern, Constance Wu, African American Film Critics Association President Gil Robertson, Robert Townsend & musicians Joe Walsh and Darius Rucker.

Stay up-to-date on this star-studded event, get tickets, and watch trailers for the upcoming competition films on the website,, or via these social media channels: